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plunger

There’s just nothing fun about dealing with plumbing.  I’m grateful that I am married to a man who can fix things.  Unfortunately, that’s his whole job…fixing things, so the last thing that he wants to do after a long day of replacing tile, changing light fixtures or snaking drains is to come home and deal with issues in our house.

We’ve lived in our home for thirteen years.  We bought it from a single guy, and Air Force lieutenant who was being sent overseas.  At the time, there were two nice trees in the front yard.  The problem is that our front yard is small, and we live in desert country.  The main sewer line for our house runs right through the middle of our front yard, out to the street.  The trees were planted on either side of the line; but, like all plants in the desert, they have to search a long way for any moisture. 

Early on, the smaller of the two trees (which happened to be planted almost on top of the sewer line) must have pushed the line enough to crack it, or somehow compromised the line.  We removed the tree, but the damage was apparently done.

For all of the time that we’ve lived in our house, the plumbing has become…tempermental.  We’ve learned not to put vegetable peelings or big clumps of pasta down the kitchen sink.  Various brands of toilet paper have been tried and abandoned.  Do you KNOW how glad I am that we’re past the days of Legos, Hot Wheels and Barbie heads getting flushed?

Usually, the drain clogging happens after dinner, after the rituals of end of day constitutions and showers.  Dave will have settled down with his computer, and the kids will be in their rooms finishing homework, or watching television.  Invariably, it will be when it’s finally my turn for a shower.  There’s a particular sound, a gurgle or a “blub” that happens first.  Then, suddenly the water will start to pool around my feet and “things” start to back up out of the drain.

I’ll admit it.  I have a potty mouth.  Nothing incites to me to swearing like a sailor faster than that first ominous gurgle from the toilet.  Nothing makes me rinse shampoo out of my hair faster.

Sometimes, Dave can get out to the main valve quickly enough with the plunger to clear the line before I hop out of the shower, soaking wet and steaming mad.  Sometimes, it takes longer and all traces of relaxation and winding down that are supposed to come from nice warm water and steam are long gone.

There have been several occasions when the plunger won’t work.  Dave’s had to actually snake the drain with a long metal wire.  So far, thankfully, we haven’t had to call a plumber.  I say thankfully, because the clogs never occur during regular business hours.  They happen at 9:00 at night, or as I’m cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner.

Last night, Dave and the kids had both taken showers when the telltale burp from the toilet started.  Dave tried for almost an hour to clear the line.  Not that I blame him, but he was very cranky.  By 10:30, it was clear to us that the drain was not.  At that point, there was little else to do.  He was going to have to go to Home Depot in the morning to get a different tool to try to unblock the line.

When we got up this morning, we made do with a minimum amount of water, and we had a conversation about what was going to have to happen.  We’re going to have to try to repair the line itself.  We can do it ourselves, but it will involve digging down four to five feet in very thick, dry clay/soil.  This is not going to be fun.  We could have a plumber do it, but that would cost hundreds of dollars.  It might make more sense to rent a trenching machine to dig down at least part of the way.

Dave is home from work today, taking a personal day to deal with something so unpleasant.  I really don’t know what I’d do without him.  I suppose I’d have to start dating a Roto-Rooter guy.

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